All this brings up the question that has been asked several times, most recently by research group - CGAP in the blog post cell phone bank accounts as an incentive to save money. If you compare holding cash in an m-pesa account, you are able to gain comparable benefits to low cost bank accounts offered at several leading local banks – and can use banks for those services that M-pesa or Zap (from Zain) don’t have e.g. withdraw cash via m-pesa, and go to Equity Bank and buy a banker’s cheque for 50/=
Benefits of m-pesa banking
- 24 hour banking: More reach & access than any bank or ATM network
- Mobile banking with operator tends to be cheaper then mobile banking via bank provided services
- Saving in transport costs and banking transaction costs
- Can pay a variety of bills for utilities at a low cost
Challenges of m-pesa banking
- Lack of float at dealers to transact/occasional mpesa system downtime
- No credit history; and the clumsy expensive statement from Safaricom not useful yet
- Calls for discipline to build savings
- Funds are not insured, and are more prone to crime. And dealing with a stolen phone in Kenya is not a pleasant experience.
Anyone tried to use m-pesa as their main bank a/c?